Saturday, February 1, 2014

If It Saves Only One Life

"If it saves only one life" is a frequent refrain from those who would control and/or prohibit guns. What if we applied this logic to other things in our lives. Jack Spirko who hosts the wildly popular The Surivival Podcast did just that recently. He applied it to stairs and staircases.

Since the gun prohibitionists and their media allies like Diane Sawyer of ABC News love to use and misuse statistics, let's look at the stats that Jack has compiled.
First some statistics, falling down stairs on average
  • Kills over 1,300 people per year – (source)
  • Over 1 million people are injured per year in stairway falls – (source)
  • Nearly 100,000 children a year are injured enough by stairway falls to require hospitalization – (source)
  • Young children and the elderly are the most victimized by falls – (source)
Let’s take those numbers over a decade we get…
  • 13,000 deaths that never had to happen
  • 10,000,000 plus hospital visits that never had to happen
  • 1,000,000 children hospitalized for serious injury that never had to happen
  • An unfair and disproportionate group of victims who are small kids or older adults that need protection
I am one of those 1 million victims of stairway falls. I broke not just one but two bones in my leg due to a stairway fall. It has not only been painful but it has been costly in terms of lost economic productivity as my broken leg has hindered me in meeting with clients in their homes. If my hosts had only installed an elevator instead of a staircase, I wouldn't have broken my leg. Or so the logic goes since it was their fault because they owned a staircase and not my responsibility to pay attention when using that staircase.

So what does Jack propose?
Let’s start with what we can all agree on, the madness must stop. So, at a minimum, we have to ban the building of any new stairs for general use. All new constructions will have stairs only for emergency evacuations, there will be licensed trained professionals that can use them for other needs and who will direct us untrained types down them if necessary. That is right, if you need to use your stairs dial 911 and professionals will come to your aid.
Jack's logic is impeccable if you buy into the argument that saving just one life is worth it. And while we are at it, let's not forget buckets, kiddie pools, and scissors. They have all caused the death of children one way or another.

Jack has also produced a video in which he makes his argument for stairway prohibition.


  1. The difference is the cost/benefit calculus.

    We accept some deaths and injuries due to stairs (or cars, or boats, or swimming pools) because we balance out the cost of using them against the benefits they provide. Of course you could save one life by eliminating any one of those things. You could save one life by outlawing trouser belts and lowering the speed limit to 5 MPH. But that would inconvenience society at large too much, so we accept the risk in order to reap the benefits.

    But gun bigots dishonestly refuse to apply this same equation to guns, only seeing the cost in innocent lives taken...and never the innocent lives guns.

  2. Jack Spirko is worth listening to; I have been listening to him for over 5 years. He's the same in person as he is on "the radio", too. This is a brilliant video and piece he has produced.

    His real point is: government shouldn't be dictating ANY of this stuff, gun, stairs, whatever. Jack is a minarchist (minimum government) libertarian, and I find myself leaning that way, as well.